Skip to main content

Full text of "The Gay Genius"

See other formats

J54                            THE GAY GENIUS

ness were gone, and there was only peace and resignation.  Even his
joys in the beauties of nature and the pleasures of the day were more
mellow, indicating a clear difference from the youthful gusto and
effervescence of his Hangchow days.  He had steadily grown in hisi
admiration for Tao Chien, the one great harmonious poetic spirit ofl|
China, and in the poem "On the Western Garden" his work cannot4»
distinguished from that of Tao.  In this poem we see not only true
peace and contentment but also a complete union with nature and a
quiet delight in the sounds and colours of nature itself.

"In the deep western room, I recline on a bed,
Quite awake from a nap, yet the day seems so long.
I feel tired for no reason and dazed though not drunk,
But the wind from the grove sets right all that 'was wrong.
Then I stroll in the garden, catch the sweet smell of grass,
A pomegranate has burgeoned, the dates are so strong!
The dove rests in the shade, idly folding its wings,
And the oriole's gay golden throat trills a new song.
On a cane, I observe the world's course and myself.
All things prosper in turn; why should I hustle along ?"

It was when the poet had reached this state of complete harmony with
nature that he could write a poem like the following: "The Recluse

" 'How can you pass such days of quiet and calm,
While human life is sore beset with ills?'
Last night I slept by the breezy northern window;
This morn the crisp air fills the western hills."

From such a mystic view, he obtained a sense of spiritual freedom, a
freedom which equalled that oŁ the clouds travelling without aim and
purpose over the mountain peaks. The poem "Cloud-Gazing Tower"
reads as follows:

"Through rain and shine, alternate night and day,
Drifting at will and stopping as it may,
The cloud has made the universe its home,
And like the cloud's so is the gazer's way."

It is striking that Tseyu always made the occasion for Su Tungpo
to write some of his best poetry. On his journey from Hangchow to
Michow, thinking of his brother, Tungpo wrote a beautiful song in
the metre of a tse, in this case set to the tune of Shinyuanchun: